Are you a stay at home parent that is about to get a divorce? Are you worried that with the divorce you will not be able to support yourself financially? If your spouse is the main provider for your family and the marriage is about to end, you will need to figure out the alimony laws for your state. The alimony laws we will be discussing here are geared toward Virginia residents as our practice is in the state of Virginia. However, for those looking to learn more about alimony laws in other states we encourage you to contact a divorce lawyer local to your area.
Does the state of Virginia allow alimony?
Yes, the state of Virginia added an alimony statute in 1980. Under The Divorce Code of 1980, the court has the authority to grant alimony to a party “if it finds that alimony is necessary”. Now the true question lies with what a court deems is necessary in order to grant alimony to a spouse.
Both spouses have the responsibility to financially look after each other even if they are separated. If your spouse is no longer living with you, you are still financially responsible for your spouse and visa versa. This shared responsibility will last until the divorce is finalized. After filing for an agreed upon no-fault divorce, you and your spouse will need to wait for the Decree in Divorce to be granted before this financial duty is dissolved. The Decree in Divorce is the document that states divorce is final.
Now if you are a stay at home parent or earn significantly less money than your spouse, the court may allow you to receive alimony. They may also grant alimony if you are unable to work because of a disability. The court would grant alimony for these scenarios on the grounds that a “denial of support and maintenance would constitute a manifest injustice based upon the relative economic circumstances of the parties.” Basically, if denied your spouse’s income you will not be able to support yourself. This is why courts will grant alimony to spouses.
The duration of how long alimony shall be granted depends on each case. There is rehabilitative alimony and permanent alimony. Rehabilitative alimony is temporary alimony granted to spouse. Temporary alimony allows non-working spouse time to train or go back to school in an effort to acquire new skills and eventually find suitable work. Permanent alimony is alimony that is paid to the spouse for the rest of the spouse’s life. Permanent alimony terminates when either the spouse dies, the dependent spouse remarries or is found to be cohabitating. Permanent alimony is less likely to be granted than rehabilitation alimony. Usually for a spouse to be allowed permanent alimony, the spouse is found to be too old to find work or has illness which prevents spouse from holding job.
Other factors that affect the court’s ruling on alimony are how long did the marriage last, what was the couple’s standard of living during the marriage, what caused the marriage to end, was adultery committed, how old are couple, what monetary contributions were made during marriage by each spouse, and what is the earning capacity of each spouse.
If you believe you qualify for alimony, you should speak to one of our specialized divorce attorneys. We can help you. Contact us at (703) 635-7980.